I Never Thought I'd Be Quite As Excited About A Bookshelf


my new bookshelf up close

(Some of the most beautiful wall art I could dream of for my classroom)

This beauty arrived during 3rd period, delivered by our handy shop teacher and a crew of young carpenters. They zipped in a couple screws to fasten the 2 "L" brackets, and headed back down to the shop. I've been glowing since.

photo of design plans

Browsing some bookshelf-making resources shared by colleagues on an online forum, I settled on my favorite design last Winter. I tweaked one of Ana White's plans, opting for a stretched-out version given the particulars of my room. Right before school started, the shop teacher and I came up with a plan (I get the lumber, he and his students build it) and it turned out to be one of those blessed situations in which everything ends up working out better than hoped and planned.

The lumber cost the school about $60.

1 @ 8'X4'X3/8" plywood (I got the kind that has the cleanest face, costs about $10 more but worth it)

6 @ 1"X4"X8' pine

5 @ 1"X2"X8' pine

photo of corner with lockers and bookshelf

The top shelf is a wee high, but over half the class is able to reach books from it. The hanging of the shelf was majorly simplified, as it rests on an old sturdy chalk rail. You can see one of the two "L" brackets in the top left corner. It leans ever so slightly back, but less than the original plans call for. A bit of leaning back is good I think, but probably not necessary. The 1"X2" board that the books sit on allows for about 3-4 copies deep of a typical-dimension L2 reader. This can be increased by using a wider board (e.g. 1"X3"), and would likewise require a width change of the vertical board.

photo of whole classroom

(Desks traditionally set up at the moment; not my preferred or typical arrangement.)

Kids come into the classroom via the door (not pictured) to the right of the maps on the same wall and walk to the classroom lockers to grab their notebook/folder, then proceed over to the bookshelf to grab their novels.


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